Sunday, April 30, 2017

Ranking Dashiell Hammett's Continental Op stories

Like the western, the hard-boiled crime thriller is a genre I'm regrettably more familiar with through broad animated parodies and holodeck simulations than the real deal. The influence of the good stuff has no doubt trickled into plenty of things I like, I just won't have known.

I'd read The Maltese Falcon, starring Hammett's most famous detective (despite only appearing in a couple of stories) Sam Spade, but I knew nothing about his more long-running, eternally enigmatically anonymous sleuth.

I wonder if I'll be any the wiser after reading The Top 30 Continental Op Stories?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Ranking the Red Dwarf Smegazine strips

I didn't collect the official and improbable Red Dwarf magazine at the time ('92–'94 – I was busy collecting my glow-in-the-dark T-rex skeleton). I only caught up on scattered issues a few years later, courtesy of Crewe's sole comic shop. You know, the one tucked away in the back of APS Records & CDs run by the bloke who looked like Garth from Wayne's World.

A treasure trove of interviews, time-capsule fandom and unusable blurry posters, perhaps the Smegazine's least impressive feature was its original comic strips, which are the most fanwanky tales I've ever seen in an officially licensed publication. As well as below-par adventures with the main Red Dwarf characters, we're invited to take extensive tours of  various alternative universes spinning off from specific episodes and to catch up with all manner of minor characters from the series and the novels, including long-running strips based on Rimmer's sock puppet and a Neighbours parody that had already ran its course over a few seconds in the show.

But was any of it actually any good? It seems unlikely, but let's be optimistic. Here are The Top 45 Smegazine Stories.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Thieving bastards VIII: Inside job


Someone's making YouTube videos about the same bookish and couch potato topics I've written about here (and there).

Even more coincidentally, they choose the same (often atypical) faves and worsties for every category and even recycle my descriptions word-for-word sometimes, like they couldn't be bothered to write a couple of new paragraphs every week.

What's going on? If someone was looking for content to steal, they could pick something more appealing to the masses and the advertisers than my willfully obscure selections of 100-year-old books and deservedly forgotten TV series.

The fact that their Indiana Jones review was posted the day before my blog about it only confuses matters.

Another possibility would be that I wanted to convert my hefty archive of worthless written opinions to the audio-video medium, but didn't fancy putting my own face and voice on camera. Then realised it might be interesting and funny to have my weird old hermit opinions coming out of a curiously young, attractive, outgoing and bizarrely female presenter, so I hired one.

I already write tons of corporate content that's credited to women, fictional or otherwise, so I might as well go all in on the gender dysphoria.

Who is this mysterious female with the sort of fascinating opinions only a strange man would have? the lonely viewers will hopefully wonder. Why can't I meet girls like that? If I subscribe, I'm basically one step closer to a date. Better leave a creepy comment to seal the deal.

It might even have worked if I'd put some effort into making my scripts readable by the human voice, and if I didn't prefer stories with unpronounceable titles.

Hot Breaking Update 25/04/17

I'm the king/queen of ecommerce

Update 04/07/17

I might not be earning what I over-optimistically hoped, but it's nice to see my target audience coming along as planned. Still waiting for someone to fall in love with "me."

Creep Update 15/07/17

It only took three and a half months of refusing to roleplay and stubbornly being myself behind the female front, but I finally got my first creep! Though unfortunately, he wasn't interested in the whole intriguing nerd thing, he was too caught up in his fantasy of "me" falling unconscious.

Even more disappointingly (and very worringly), he hadn't singled "me" out for this honour, as a basic Google search revealed that he asks a variation of that question (eyes rolling back in the head, tweeting birdies) all the damn time on all the videos that come up whenever he feels the itch and searches YouTube for 'fainted,' 'hypnosis,' 'dizzy,' etc. There are pages and pages of it.

We all have our weird fetishes (yes you do), and that's fine. But leaving these creepy comments on innocent videos of children mucking about just isn't on. So I asked him why he was so fixated on seeing all these women and children unconscious, he told an unconvincing lie, then seems to have half-deleted his comments or something in a panic and is going under a different name.

You don't mess with the Bride. I wonder why the parents of the kids making those videos or some of the hundreds of thousands of viewers didn't think those comments were a bit off? I'm probably just overreacting. Who among us can say we haven't used our YouTube account to solely make the same insistent request for young women and minors to faint for us again and again over the course of a year or more?

This never happened when I was a man.

Update 01/10/17

Finally someone noticed:

"I want to say I think it's great to have a fan who's not, "another nerdy guy." You bring a fresh perspective and the fact your you're not a guy and not U.S.A. makes me believe there are more fans of these genres other than what I typically see."

Finally someone cares:

"Slowly falling in love ..."